Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Concealable Weapons You’re Not Cool Enough To Carry: Noisy Cricket

What Is It?: 

A tiny energy gun who’s diminutive size belies it’s surprisingly destructive power and recoil.

Who’s Used It?:

Will Smith.

Why Am I Not Cool Enough To Carry It?:

Because even The Fresh Prince himself couldn’t, in his own words; make the Noisy Cricket look good.

Not only that, but you’d have to be built like a brick-shit house just to handle it.

A handgun is, by nature; a weapon intended to be held and operated without a brace or shouldering mechanism.

Despite being roughly the size of a Derringer, the Noisy Cricket kicks like a steroid cow that’s seen one too many Van-Damme movies.

... That is, if a steroid cow is even CAPABLE of lifting it's legs to throw a kick.

That is to say, despite the benefit of packing extraordinarily potent explosive force; firing the Noisy Cricket has the nasty effect of flinging it’s user off their feet and about half a city block through the air.

Clearly, not a product of efficient Japanese engineering…

Again, this unfortunate element of the Noisy Cricket’s design likely could be remedied by putting it in the hands of a very fit 500 lbs. man, something that I’m willing to bet describes not a single person reading this blog; or by possessing a center of gravity roughly that of Danny Devito’s… or Puck’s.

Hey, we went over this before: Puck's a pimp. Lay-off the Puck-Meister.

The point is, while I know we all wish we could go around toting palm-sized, energy grenade handguns; the fact of the matter is, it’s just not worth it.

Think about it:

Assuming you’d be willing to pull a Noisy Cricket on someone on the street, let alone fire it; chances are you’d break your neck in the resulting recoil induced fall, or at the very least reflexively shit yourself due to the shock of it all.

Oh yeah, and considering the fact that Agent J succeeded in hitting exactly nothing during the few instances he used the Noisy Cricket, chances are you’d also probably miss your intended target… Who if you were at all justified in needing a handgun to deal with, would likely capitalize on your recoil induced period of incapacity to mug/murder/de-pants you.

Pictured: The most likely outcome of any attempted usage of a Noisy Cricket.

The funny part about the Noisy Cricket, is the fact that it’s actually not all that cool of the weapon in the first place; and yet you’re still not cool enough to wield it.

It looks like a cheap fuckin’ Zippo lighter.

It “chirps” while it’s held at ready, making it entirely impractical in situations calling for stealth or ambush tactics.

And judging by the grave tone in which Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K spoke when handing it over to Will Smith, chances are it’s not exactly looked upon as a weapon of class or distinction amongst Men In Black agents.

While the prospect of owning or handling any sort of alien firearm sounds pretty fuckin’ cool on paper, the amount of MANLY coolness one must possess in order to successfully compensate for the aura of lameness inherent to carrying a Noisy Cricket, would likely have to exceed that of Sean Connery, Toshiro Mifune, and Hulk Hogan combined.

In essence, you’re not cool enough to carry a Noisy Cricket for the same reason grown men aren’t allowed to drape themselves entirely in velvet.

Because goddamnit:  No one’s that pimp.

Filed under: Comics, Concealable Weapons You're Not Cool Enough To Carry, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Concealable Weapons You’re Not Cool Enough To Carry: Pocket Sand

What Is It?:  

A cache of sand stored in one’s pockets for the purpose of throwing in an attackers eyes.

Who’s Used It?:

Dale Gribble, Uncle Scar, Chong Li, Mr. Fuji.

Why Am I Not Cool Enough To Carry It?:  

Because throwing sand in peoples eyes is an act reserved for only the most weasly and underhanded motherfuckers in all of existence.

It’s one thing to be an opportunist, to be that asshole that chucks a wad of sand in the heat of the moment.

That shit’s been goin’ on since the beginning of time.

Hell, I’m willing to bet fuckin’ amoeba’s n’shit were chuckin’ particles of primordial soup at each others membranes back in the day.

Hell, even fuckin' Pokemon do it.

How else would the world know who the bad guys were?

The point is, chucking sand in people’s eyes is an inherently despicable, yet practical act; but if and when it’s utilized as a preemptive means of defense, it becomes something far more diabolical than most ordinary humans are capable of.

In order to be that guy that pockets a wad of sand every morning, you’d have to have a thought process somewhere along the lines of:

 “Oh shit, my Spider-Sense is tingling. I should probably bring some sand with me today…”

I’m sorry, but unless you’ve got Batman kicking down your door with any sort of regularity, chances are you’re not anywhere near cool enough to carry tactical pocket sand.

I understand that some people think it perfectly reasonable to carry pepper spray, stun guns, or even knives everywhere they go; (I don’t) but it takes a certain kind of crazy (not at all like a fox) to say to yourself:

“Whoops!  Silly me, I almost forgot to stuff kitty litter in my pockets before I left for work!”

I’m sorry, but chances are the kind of people that would consider carrying sand in their pockets a sensible, and totally necessary method of self-defense, are the kind of people that have gone out of their way to make the sort of enemies that would require said extreme measures to be dealt with.

That is to say, unless you’re a paranoid fuckin’ gun nut like Dale Gribble, or one seriously slimy-ass motherfucker like Lex Luthor’s douchebag second cousin or some shit; then chances are you haven’t earned the right to carry pocket sand in, uh, your pockets.

Filed under: Comics, Concealable Weapons You're Not Cool Enough To Carry, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , ,

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters Review

I never thought I’d say this about a Godzilla comic, but goddamn this comic was preachy.

Godzilla, and indeed many giant monsters over the years, have often carried with them an air of social/political commentary, be it cautioning the world against the use of nuclear arms, or the dangers of bureaucratic obfuscation I.E. The Host.

While these messages aren’t always at the forefront of things, the symbolism that crops up from committing a giant radioactive dinosaur from the South Pacific to film or print is undeniable.

While Godzilla is one of the more malleable pop-culture characters in all of history, serving as a symbol of everything from nuclear deterrence to a hero to all children; I never thought I’d see him used the way he was in IDW’s Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters.

I’ve been watching Godzilla films since the cradle, and naturally I grew up reading Dark Horse’s Godzilla comics during the early 90′s.

While no other Toho monsters or characters were featured in the Dark Horse comics, with the exception of a few less than stellar issues here and there, I found that these comics paid homage to the spirit of Godzilla about as well as anyone could ever hope.

Pictured: Godzilla preparing to surface amid the Spanish Armada. God I loved these comics...

Perhaps more so than anything else, I found myself blown away by the writers and artists of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters’ complete lack of respect and understanding for the character.

Over the course of 4 issues, I found myself utterly flabbergasted at the writer’s inability to satisfy even the least of my expectations for a Godzilla comic book.

Despite the book’s claim to being the first American comic to license the rights to use monsters from Toho’s stable other than Godzilla, a claim I don’t dispute; the fact of the matter is, within this first collected edition the writer’s did little to flex their muscles in this regard.

That is to say, despite featuring 4 monsters within as many issues, with the exception of a few pages at the very end, there was no interaction between any of them.

You see this cover? IT'S FULL OF LIES.

I’m sorry, but as much fun as it can be to watch Godzilla step on buildings, or watch Anguirus bounce around in the desert; at the end of the day we all pay to see the monsters fight and/or team-up.

The fact of the matter is, right from the start Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters paints itself as a tongue-in-cheek comedy.

I don’t know if it’s a cultural difference in the form of the Western mind being unable to treat a larger than life character like Godzilla with any sort of seriousness, but personally I found this interpretation and use of the character to be horrible misguided.

The way Godzilla and the other monsters are used in this story, as mobile natural disasters and calamities that are talked about (endlessly) and cut away to rather than given any sort of spotlight; it’s as if you could have made the exact same comic without paying out the nose for the licensing fees.

Or without featuring any monsters whatsoever for that matter.

Sadly, the entire book seems to be more interested in playing itself off as a pop-culture satire rather than an homage or addition to the legacy of Godzilla.

Allusions are made to the Godzilla mythos, in the form of a pair of psychic French twins that are clearly supposed to be an “evil” version of the Shobi-jin, who are featured in exactly one panel, as well as the use of Anguirus’ “soccer ball” maneuver from Final Wars as an odd form of locomotion; but at the end of the day pop-culture asides make up the majority of the page count.

While the names are changed, Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, various news anchors, and the cast of The Jersey Shore are all satirized, and quite exhaustively at that.

Pictured: The Jersey Shore in comic form... I've never watched the show, but sadly, now I can say I've read a comic featuring them.

Why anyone would think a comic based on a pop-culture property would feel it wise to make said comic a send-up of other pop-culture properties is entirely beyond me.

Sadly, these caricatures serve as perhaps the closest thing the entire book has to actual characters, as outside of numerous joke characters, I couldn’t name a single character with any sort of depth or longevity; including the monsters.

If that weren’t bad enough, the story, or what little there is outside of talking heads mulling on and on about the monsters instead of us actually seeing them in action, is horrible disjointed and tonally unbalanced.

While most of the story is devoted to watching Obama be profane AKA “funny,” or watching short-lived joke characters/stereotypes get picked off by the monsters, there are in fact a few serious moments here and there that fail to illicit any sort of emotional response due to the goofy events that sandwich them.

For instance, there’s one scene where a Japanese fisherman becomes a suicide bomber in an attempt to kill Godzilla that could’ve meant something to me, had his character been featured in more than 5 panels, and had the story not been mired in referential pop-culture humor.

... And this added to the story, how?

Perhaps the weirdest instance of unwarranted seriousness though, is the addition of perhaps the only character in the entire 4 issues, a decorated U.S. soldier.

This character is supposed to be solemn and worldly, but really, I’d imagine he sounds like me or any other whiny, 20-something year old boy that tries to speak out about the “serious issues” in life.

Trust me, there’s a reason I don’t write about politics/world events on this blog…

That is to say, his character is used, for whatever reason, to condemn and damn the vapid consumerist youth culture propagated by spokespeople like the Jersey Shore folks.

While I see the validity of his and what I’d assume is the writer’s viewpoint, the fact of the matter is, I have no fucking clue what place this sort of preachy-ass bullshit has in a Godzilla comic.

Wrong fuckin’ time, absolutely wrong fuckin’ place my friend.

While I’m sure the team behind Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters was indeed hoping to build some sort of legitimate story with the license, in my eyes they absolutely failed in that task within what should’ve been a more than reasonable 4 issues.

Whatever success they go on to have with subsequent stories won’t change the fact that they seriously dropped the ball with their first book.

Despite all the flaws in the plot and characterization, I feel I should make mention of the less than stellar art.

While the covers are absolutely fantastic, (included in fold-out form in the collected edition) the interior art by Phil Hester is of a monochromatic and almost mosaic-like style that isn’t my favorite.

I suppose it doesn't help when rendering of Anguirus squishing hillbillies counts as the "best" scene in the issue.

The inking lacks character, and while many of the monsters are rendered well, much better than the humans anyway; there’s very little life to be found in their posturing and framing… Especially when the script doesn’t allow them to do anything outside of molest buildings.

Excuse me, “destroy” buildings.

In all, the intensely black shadows and monochromatic style of the art seems better suited for a noir story than a tongue-in-cheek monster story.

It’s sad really, as if you’ll recall, I was actually quite excited for Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters.

Oh well, at least now I know that if I ever want to read a Godzilla comic, my best bet is to save my money and dig up my old Dark Horse issues.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Garo Is Back!!!

It’s been more than 5 years now, but Garo is finally back on Japanese television!

For those who are unaware, (and I know there are lots of you) Garo was a tokusatsu series that came out back in 2005.

At the time, I had just entered college, discovered bit torrent, and was just beginning to rediscover my love for the genre via shows like Ultraman Nexus and Kamen Rider Kabuto.

I’d always loved tokusatsu, growing up with Godzilla movies and Power Rangers on TV, but it wasn’t until I got into college that I really began to understand how deep my love for the genre ran.

In many ways, you could call 2005 my own personal perfect storm of dorky self-discovery.

That being said, I think a lot of what got me to start following tokusatsu shows again, was the superb level of quality that many of the shows around the mid-2000′s represented.

In my eyes, other than the older shows like Ultraseven, Ultraman has never been as good as it was with Nexus.

Similarly, Kamen Rider V3 and Black will always be my favorite iterations of the character, however Kabuto and Den-Ou easily represent the best it’s been in the past decade or so.

You really expect me to watch a show about a motorcycle riding rocket shuttle-man? Try again Toei.

That being said, as much as I loved these shows at the time, in my eyes it was a brand new series, Garo; that represented the cream of the crop.

Boasting superior production values, a more serious tone, a strong cast, and a surprisingly deep universe; Garo was the show that kept me coming back to tokusatsu despite several consecutive years of less than stellar programming.

I guess you could say I kept wading through shit like Ultraseven X and Kamen Rider Kiba in the hopes that they could somehow live up to the benchmark set by Garo.

*Sigh* Few shows excelled in the realm of suck-age and melodrama than did Ultraseven X…

I think a large part of what made Garo so special, was the fact that it was the product of director/writer/artist Keita Amemiya’s truly wondrous imagination.

Over the years I’ve seen nearly all of Amemiya’s movies, and while many of them are poorly scripted and acted, the man’s art design remains some of my favorite in all of film.

Case in point, Zeiram, one of the most iconic characters in Amemiya's portfolio.

I’ve always said, if there was one director I’d like to see be given a chance to work with a Hollywood budget, it’d have to be Keita Amemiya.

That being said, Garo represented a rare occasion wherein the script, costuming, and effects all came together exceptionally well.

The characters were memorable and arched very nicely, and unlike many tokusatsu shows that run out of steam later in the series, the 25 episode length proved to be just about perfect, even if the last episode turned out to be 30 minutes of pure action.

Not that I have a problem with that sort of thing.

In the intervening years since Garo wrapped, a pair of movies have been released, but no series was announced until a few months ago.

The first of these movies, the 2007 Beast of the White Night, stands as perhaps the crowning achievement of the franchise.

It’s action-packed, accessible, concise, exceptionally imaginative in terms of effects and stunt work.

The second movie, the 2010 3D film Red Requiem, is currently on my hard drive, though I have yet to watch it.

I’ve heard it’s kind of a misstep when compared to the level of quality yielded by everything that’s come before it,

When everything else in the franchise is nothing short of “excellent” though, I’d be curious to see what a “misstep” looks like.

That being said, as of a few weeks ago, Garo has returned to Japanese television in the form of Garo Makai Senki AKA Garo Supernatural Chronicles.

I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but it appears the series is on track for greatness once again.

The original Garo hit it’s stride for me around episode 7, and then only continued to get better from there, especially in episode 9 when they finally gave the character a bad-ass theme song… And a horse:

So far Makai Senki is a little on the slow side, definitely making more use of the horror elements in it’s storytelling than the action, but time will tell if it ascends in quality from here or not.

Regardless, I’m just glad Garo’s back, as now I finally have something to fill the tokusatsu gap in my life.

I gave up on Kamen Rider after Den-Ou on account of every show sucking balls after that.

I gave up on Ultraman ’cause frankly, they don’t make Ultraman shows anymore, just silly, over-budgeted movies.

I never gave up on Garo though, so here’s hoping they didn’t give up on me.

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Long Night Of Driving And Gyros

Sorry folks, had to pick up my buddy from the airport late last night.

I got a free gyro out of the deal, but it looks like you guys got a day without a new post.

Oh well, here’s me making up for it with Simpsons goodness and Herb Alpert’s Spanish Flea.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

B-Hop Loses Title Via 2nd Round Bodyslam

Pictured: Bernard Hopkins getting tapped on the chin by a jab from Chad Dawson.

I know the phrase gets tossed around by ignorant fans all too often these days, but I’ve gotta’ say it:

Jesus-fuck man, boxing’s in trouble.

As of last night, we now have 2 consecutive pay-per-view events ending via bizarre, and wholly dissatisfying circumstances.

Last time it was Floyd Mayweather sucker punching an thoroughly unprepared and unnervingly bipolar Victor Ortiz.

Every time I see this, I hear Manny Steward in my head going "Aw..........."

This time, it’s Bernard Hopkins sustaining a shoulder injury via an accidental throw at the hands of Chad Dawson, resulting a questionable TKO that will likely be overturned within the next few weeks.

While Manny Pacquiao will always draw a huge audience, particularly among the Filipino demographic, with so many boxing main events degenerating into disappointing circus-like tomfoolery, it’s hard to say whether his rubber match with Juan Manuel Marquez will be able to generate significant interest with the UFC heavyweight title match being aired on public television during the same time slot.

For a life long boxing fan like me, this is a no-brainer, but for many other typical fans of “combat sports,” it’s hard for me to see people turning down a free event over a pay one, especially given the high-profile nature of the UFC bout.

....As well as the "bro-ey" nature of most UFC fans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited as the next guy for Pacquiao Marquez III, in fact probably more so; but it’s hard for me to picture Marquez getting his sea legs at Welterweight overnight.

That’s a topic for a different day though.

Getting back to the matter at hand, the B-Hop and Dawson fight lasted around 5 minutes, and from the looks of it, Dawson was likely going to coast to a decision victory.

B-Hop’s one of my favorite fighters, and I’d watch him fight even if he was in a wheelchair, but from the looks of things with Dawson, I didn’t see the same spark that I did in his fights with Jean Pascal.

His feet were flat, there was little spring in his step, and oddly enough; he looked stiff to me.

B-Hop doesn’t get stiff.

The old adage in boxing, is that when it comes to old age, your legs are the first thing to go.

I hate to say it, as we only got to see him for less than 2 rounds last night, neither of which he seemed to lose by more than a slim margin; but I feel like this sadly might be the last time we see B-Hop in the ring.

From what I could tell from the footage, the “bodyslam” that occurred in the 2nd round was the fault of neither man.

B-Hop charged in to clinch, Dawson ducked, and while B-Hop leaned on his back, Dawson stood up, or at most, shrugged; resulting in the old man getting lifted off his feet.

Pictured: B-Hop goin' for a ride.

Slipping off of Dawson’s back, B-Hop fell to the canvas and jammed his elbow, sending force up his arm; resulting in what doctors reports are now confirming as a dislocated shoulder.

Given B-Hop’s advanced age, it’s hard to see him recovering from an injury like that in time for another go in the ring to be feasible, hence my concern over the fact that this garbage-ass fight/debacle might be the last time we see The Executioner in action.

For whatever reason, referee Pat Russell declared “no foul” on Hopkins’ spill to the canvas, thereby ruling his inability to continue a TKO for boxing.

Now, I don’t mean to question the merits of a professional referee, but frankly; my understanding of the rules of boxing had me picturing the fight as either a technical draw on the grounds of no “boxing maneuver” being utilized to acquire the victory, or a no contest on account of the bout having ended before 4-5 rounds could be scored on the cards.

Pictured: B-Hop seen in a rare light: On the canvas.

That’s just me though.

In any case, the fight looked like it was well on it’s way to becoming the chessmatch it was foreseen as.

No significant punches were landed, but Dawson’s quickness and reach seemed to be the sort that could give B-Hop fits.

Despite everything I said about B-Hop’s legs looking kind of sluggish, the man is very much a late round fighter; so it’s entirely believable that he could’ve pushed Dawson to mentally check out the same way he did against Jean Pascal.

Unfortunately, the boxing Gods were not smiling last night, so we’re left instead with yet another oddity for the hall of disappointments and weird-ass decisions.

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And Now, Van Damme Dancing In “Breakin’”


That is all.

Filed under: Movies, , , , , , ,

A Canadian Typo Kept Me From Beating Fight Night For 6 Months

Thank you South Park for summing up my feelings as of last night ever so succinctly.

For those that might be unaware, I’ve been trying on and off to beat Isaac Frost (the final boss of Fight Night Champion) for a good long while now.

As detailed here and maybe not for very much longer here, fighting the guy is a complex affair involving straight up boxing simulation gameplay, and a hokey round to round array of pre-arranged objectives.

That is to say, as much as you’d like to just go out and fight Frost like you would any other fighter in the game, the dramatic nature of the story mode forces you to accomplish certain tasks from round to round, thereby robbing the fight of the organic nature that makes Fight Night Champion such a satisfying experience.

Despite the awkward nature of the gameplay aspect of the fight, from a presentation standpoint, it’s actually quite absorbing at times.

Unlike normal exhibition or vs. matches in the game, the story mode fights make use of ambient music and contextual music cues, resulting in the fight with Frost feeling genuinely cinematic at times.

As frustrated as I was at times, every time the heavy percussion of Isaac Frost’s theme would kick in as he landed a big punch on me, I really felt the tension bearing down on me.

That being said, as annoying as it was to be unable to beat Frost for so long, easily the most annoying part of the whole thing stems from how I actually went about defeating him for the first time.

When you finally beat a tough challenge, especially in a videogame, you expect to feel a sense of accomplishment, of pride for your achievement.

I didn’t get that.

Instead, I learned that all these months I’d been defeated, not by Frost; but by the programmers over at EA Canada’s poor choice of wording.

Before the 3rd round, your trainer tells you to land “power shots” to the body.

At the beginning of said round, the objective listed on-screen reads “Land power shots to the body.”

Just in case you're one of those mentally deficient folks that needs a Powerpoint to understand things.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

In Fight Night Champion, there is a substantial difference between power shots, and regular punches.

Power shots are slower, cannot be thrown in combination, and make use of a modifier button to execute.

That is to say, they are a specialized tool to be used with moderation and caution.

From the 3rd to the 5th round of the fight, I was under the impression that I was being told to land 75 power shots to Isaac Frost’s midsection.

Just to clarify, that’s a fuck ton of power shots, making for a fuck ton of opportunities for Frost to capitalize on the slow speed and recovery time of said punches.

Staying on your feet trying to land 75 power shots inside of 9 minutes against Isaac Frost is like trying to ice skate uphill when there ain’t no ice.

In short, it just doesn’t work.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered, by accident, that despite the specific use of the term “power shot” being utilized both in the dialogue of a cutscene and by the in-game text objective; I was not in fact required to use them.

Truth be told, I wasn’t really that mad per se, really I was just kind of surprised at how easy Frost was once I learned that.

For awhile now I’ve thought of him as one of the harder bosses I’ve fought in gaming, but now that I know how he’s supposed to be fought, he’s almost disappointingly wimpy.

Sure, he’s still got the power to put you down at any time in the fight, but I’m pretty fuckin’ good at Fight Night, so once you’re “allowed” to go on the offensive against him, I put him away just like any other bum.

I just think it’s so funny that, like seemingly everything in life, I made Isaac Frost so much harder than he actually was.

I struggled for days trying to find ways to slip in and out using nothing but power shots, but to no avail.

Believe it or not, I actually got good enough at fighting him that way that I routinely came within a few punches and seconds of being able to land the 75 punches required to advance in the fight.

In a way, I kind of wish my interpretation of the Isaac Frost gameplan was real, as it made for one helluva’ challenge, but one that I likely could’ve achieved with enough practice.

So there you have it:

Isaac Frost < The Shitty Writers Over at EA Canada.

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Avengers Trailer Looks Like They Need To Fix It In Post.

It’s funny, as the release date for The Avengers slowly draws nearer, I’m starting to realize more and more the fact that there’s very little chance of it being shitty.

I have a great deal of love for Marvel comics, so just getting a chance to see the characters of that universe being brought to life in 200 million dollar budgeted films is enough to make me happy.

It doesn’t matter so much if the acting is great, or the plot deeply layered, as long I get to see the spirit and energy of the characters brought to life, there’s very little chance I’ll walk away from an Avengers movie wanting my money back.

Then again, I would’ve said the same about Transformers, that is, until Michael Bay dumped ass all over my childhood and raped my wallet…

TWICE.

"I swear I will not kill anyone... But I WILL shit on all of your childhood heroes."

That being said, while it’s a bit difficult to determine exactly what the plot of the movie is based on the trailer, (as should be the case, given that it’s only the first theatrical trailer) in many ways I applaud the marketing folks over at Marvel/Disney for cramming in screen time for virtually all of the heavy hitters that have been confirmed to be appearing in the film.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appears to be the central villain of the film, though based on the uncertain events at the conclusion of Captain America, in my mind it’s entirely possible that Red Skull could have a hand in things as well.

My bet is, he does.

Given the Hulk’s unstable nature, as well as the plot of the first Avengers comic, I’m guessing he’s going to end up being manipulated by Loki at some point; resulting in a heel/face turn at some point in the film.

I don't think I'm alone in saying I'd like to see a bit of THIS somewhere in there though.

Speaking of the Hulk, his reveal at the end of the trailer was well utilized, as he’s the one confirmed Avenger we really haven’t seen up to this point.

Despite no shortage of explosions and FX shots though, I can’t help but feel that this first trailer was cut from footage of a yet unfinished product.

At least I hope that’s the case.

There are numerous shots that feel very “static,” lacking in energy and purpose to a degree that they feel almost amateurish.

Seriously man, count how many shots there are of single characters, standing in boring and vacant locations.

"DURRR!!! I'M THE BLACK WIDOW AND I JUST FARTED A BUS EXPLOSION! DURRR!!!"

Chances are you’ll run out of fingers and toes on that one.

At the same time, many of the FX shots, particularly some of the exploding cars, look to me as if they are meant to be templates for CGI compositing.

It’s rare to see explosions in Hollywood films these days where the detonation source and materials seem plainly visible, and as such; I wouldn’t be surprised if the aforementioned exploding car shots are awaiting some sort of energy beam effects to cover all that up.

It’s funny, as I write this nitpicky article, I can’t help but be reminded of the early trailers for Iron Man.

I remember seeing the early TV spots for Iron Man, and being largely unimpressed.

I don’t know if you recall, but the pacing of these commercials was very weak, and some of the effects shots were not quite finished, resulting in advertisements that didn’t at all reflect the awesomeness of the final product.

Compare this early TV spot:

To the later released full trailer here:

Not only is the composition better, the special effects, particularly in the “tank shot” sequence, are rendered with more detail and smoother animation.

When you’re dealing with effects heavy films like this, it’s entirely possible that the computer effects crew will end up working on the project up until the release date.

While I could be wrong, I’m really hoping this is the case with The Avengers, as while it looks totally acceptable at this point, it doesn’t look at all exceptional.

What else can I say about this?:

Captain America’s costume looks a little bit too stretchy and “pajama-y” for me to give it a thumbs up.

Am I wrong in thinking it looks kind of like the live-action Kick-Ass costume?

Hank Pym should get a nod or a cameo, as I’d love to see The Vision or Ultron show up in a movie someday.

Kudos to the marketing department for excluding any and all shots of the Avengers working together or “assembling,” as that’s one of those oh-so-important fanboy moments that’s probably best left for the theaters.

Here’s hoping Agent Coulson gets an action beat somewhere in there, ’cause he’s been consistently fun over the years.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the always solid Jeremy Renner won’t suck as Hawkeye… ‘Cause let’s face it: he’s Hawkeye.

"Who? Me?"

For once I’m actually hoping Joss Whedon decides to “George Lucas” his movie with distracting lights and colors in every shot.

Seriously man, this is the fuckin’ Avengers movie.

It’s only gonna’ premiere once, and you’ve been hyping it for like 4-5 years now.

Go balls out, or don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time.

No Avengers film, or any film for that matter, should have boring-ass shots of The Black Widow standing ever so casually in front of pitiful exploding buses, or for that matter; Nick Fury firing rocket launchers while standing in front of my dad’s garage.

BOH-RRRRRIIIIING.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say on this one, hopefully it turns out fun for everyone, ’cause at this point if any one film this coming year could hope make good on that promise, it’d have to be The Avengers.

If it does in fact start to suck when I’m in the theater though, I know exactly the phrase that’s going to come to mind:

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The Worst Comics I Own: Nemesis


Why I Bought It:

The irresistible writer/penciler duo of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.

Mark Millar is far from my favorite writer, but he was on one helluva’ hot streak around the time Nemesis started printing, making it a must-buy book for me despite middling to fair reviews.

Why would I feel this way about a book written by a writer I’d describe as “far from my favorite?”

Well, shut up for a second and I’ll tell you.

The rule of thumb when it comes to Millar’s work, at least for me; is that many of his stories are only as good as his artists.

In this sense, when I heard Steve McNiven, one of my favorite artists in the industry, was going to be re-teaming with Millar for Nemesis, not just as the penciler, but as co-creator; I couldn’t help but be excited.

McNiven is a terrific artist, but he isn’t exactly the most prolific, making any work he does all the more special.

When the pairing of these 2 men results in the brilliance of Civil War, and Old Man Logan, one can’t help but have high hopes for their creator owned project involving a white clad “Evil Batman.”

Sadly, the resulting product was far from equal to the sum of it’s parts…

Why It Sucks:

To clarify, Nemesis is actually pretty far from “suck-y.”

In fact, it’s actually quite good at times, however only at the rate of about once or twice per issue.

Mark Millar’s strength’s as a writer stem from his tendency to test the creative limits of his artists in rendering Michael Bay-like set piece sequences and fanboy moments.

In case you forgot, he put VENOM on a T-REX.

His writing resonates most with an audience that isn’t afraid to tap their inner teenage self, and as such, his stuff can be a lot of fun if you’re willing to turn your brain off, laugh at poop jokes, and admire the pretty pictures for a few hundred pages.

That being said, Nemesis actually delivers in virtually every area you’d expect it to, however it does so clumsily and with less energy than one would hope.

The story makes itself out to be much more complicated than it actually is, and the characters are mostly bland, or in the case of the title character; impetuous and largely unlikable.

What’s more, backstory and history is largely ignored throughout, leaving most the characters feeling one-dimensional, and much of the plot feeling very much like like the writer is flipping you the bird and saying “Don’t worry, it’ll be explained in the inevitable sequel.”

Given that it’s a creator owned comic, consisting of entirely unique and unknown characters, I was totally prepared for generic characterization and poor plotting.

Like I said, Millar’s not my favorite writer, and as such, I was wholly expecting to have some problems with Nemesis on that end of things.

What really bugged me about Nemesis, was the fact that the art didn’t live up to my expectations.

Let’s get one thing straight:

By normal standards, Nemesis is one gorgeous fucking comic.

You could do a lot worse...

The problem is, when you’re dealing with Steve McNiven, normal expectations get tossed out the window.

I don’t know if he was working from a strict time table, or if the inker Dave McCaig fucked things up; but Nemesis just doesn’t seem to have the same love put into it that Civil War and Old Man Logan did.

It’s still great by most standards, but when you compare his pencils for Nemesis to his past works, they just don’t hold up.

Is It Still Worth Reading Anyway?:

Nemesis stands as a predictable progression of Mark Millar’s fascination with the concept of a realm of superheroes being dominated by it’s villains, (I.E. Wanted, Old Man Logan) and while it might not be the best permutation of it, it’s still fun in a brainless popcorn movie sort of way.

Like a big dumb summer blockbuster, many of the action sequences in Nemesis arrive without cause or meaning, robbing them of dramatic weight, however due to Steve McNiven’s stellar (but not exceptional by his standards) artwork; simply bearing witness to them can be thrilling in it’s own right.

While I didn’t care much for the characters or story, particularly the antagonist and title character, I can honestly say the brutal jailbreak fight sequence pitting Nemesis against 97 riot cops stands as one of the finest melees ever drawn in Western comics.

FUCK YES!

For this, and other such instances of over-the-top bloodletting, I’d say Nemesis is worth a read for anyone interested in that sort of thing (I.E. Me).

Just don’t expect to be sitting on the edge of your seat during the panels in between all the big action moments…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Worst Comics I Own, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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